Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sorry, Dewey Decimal!

The CAT 5 (4th grade) standardized test that I ordered from FLO finally came on Friday, so we've been working on that since Monday. They don't send an answer key because parents are allowed to grade the test (the test administrator, FLO takes care of that), but I'm confident that she's doing great so far.

The test itself does seem pretty outdated. There are several questions about library card catalogs (how to use them, read the index cards, etc). When I saw that, I was very surprised because as far as I know most libraries don't even have card catalogs anymore. I called my brother (who worked as an assistant librarian until a few years ago) and he backed me up on this one.

I remember that in grade school we had to "learn" about how to use the library every year. I loved to read, but I was always annoyed by these annual (or sometimes semi-annual if we had moved during the school year) seminars. The uber-boring librarian would go on and on about dewey decimal and blah blah blah. I would just sit there thinking, didn't we go over this last year (and the year before, and the year before?). Nothing ever, ever changed...but I guess they thought we'd forgotten the difference between fiction and nonfiction since the previous year. I never imagined that in a few decades everything would be computerized and that I would never have to look at those silly index cards again.

Now my arch-nemesis, the card catalog has returned from beyond the grave, rearing its outdated head to bore the next generation.

Can we update the CAT please? Its got to be at least 10 years old. Everyone is so worried about standardized tests being culturally biased (have to include ethnic-sounding names in the story problems in order to be relatable to all students) but no one cares that students are being tested on material about card catalogs that can't have possibly been taught in school in the past 10 years!

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